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Martin Bashir

News/Business. Journalist Martin Bashir uncovers breaking news stories. New.

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  MSNBC    Martin Bashir    News/Business. Journalist Martin  
   Bashir uncovers breaking news stories. New.  

    September 18, 2012
    1:00 - 2:00pm PDT  

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videos lately? ♪ you don't look the same ♪ the way you did before >> mitt romney steps in it. >> good evening. i understand that there's a video that's been on the internet. >> um, yes, there is, and in it you said you don't care about half the country. >> do you worry you've offended this 47% who you mention? >> well, you know, it's not elegantly stated. let me put it that way, i'm speaking off the cuff in response to a question. >> an juferd covundercover vide uncovers just how cynical the man really is. >> these very people are the people that were going to vote for him. >> these a pessimistic view of the country. >> it's so condescending. >> what did he say that's wrong? >> okay, mitt, last word to you. >> i'm not familiar with precisely with exactly what i said but i stand by what i said
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whatever it is. ♪ >> we begin this afternoon with the number one disaster movie of the year, and its big he is star, the multimillion air mitt romney. what happens you have had a chance to catch snippets of what mr. romney said in a sensational secret video recording at one of his $50,000 a plate fund-raisers, but in case you're still checking your ears or perhaps just wondering how anyone could say something so contemptuous about so many americans, well, here it is again for your listening pleasure. >> there are 47% of the people who will vote for the president in matter what. there are 47% who are with him, who are dependent upon government, who believe they are victims, who believe the government has a responsibility to care for them, who believe they're entitled to health care, to food, to housing, to you name
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it. it's entitlement and the government should give it to them and they will vote for this president no matter what. >> can you believe the nerve, the tem merit, the impertinence of people who in this day and age believe they're entitled to food and shelter? i mean, it boggles the mind. how long will it be before they're out on the street waving signs and demanding their right to breathe clean air? that's why mr. romney had to call his second hastily arranged press conference in as many weeks to try to clean up the mess. >> well, you know, it's not elegantly stated, let me put it that way. i'm speaking off the cuff in response to a question, and i'm sure i could state it more clearly and in a more effective way than i did in a setting like that. >> inelegant. well, i'm no expert on elegance, but it seems to me what's missing from mr. romney's statement is common courtesy to one's fellow citizens, and over at the white house people seem to be picking up on this, too.
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take a listen. >> what the president said four years ago, what he said eight years ago, what he says today, and what he said ever since he took office here is that he's fighting for every american. that he firmly believes that as a nation we're all in this together. that what unites us is far stronger and greater than what divides us. >> hang on. a president who thinks we're all in this together? what a snob. we're joined now by msnbc contributor and bloomberg few columnist, jonathan alter. former dn c communications director karen finney and proves james peterson of he lie university. karen, mitt romney is polling at zero with african-americans. he's -- it's said almost 70% of latinos will support the president, and now he says 47% of the entire electorate is obsessed with entitlements. answer this question, does this man really want to win this election? >> apparently not, i mean, you would think by the way he's
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running this campaign, no. it's appalling what he said because -- and this is the thing. it's not the first time he's talked about handouts and freebies. clearly there is something in his mind about who the hard working people and who are the moochers, right? who deserves those tax credits like that 3% that actually doesn't pay federal income tax because they make so much money and then, you know, i don't know, all these people that are working hard. the problem for governor romney interestingly enough, i'm glad you said snob, because the truth is when santorum was talking about the snobbery, that's who he was talking about. he was talking about mitt romney ironically because he does look down his nose at the rest of america. and you cannot possibly be president of the whole country if you have such disdain. remember when president obama four years ago made his comment about clinging to guns and religion, he was actually making the case to a san francisco audience that, hey, we sill have to go to those places and talk to people because we have to be
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able to govern everybody. that's not what romney was saying. romney was saying who cares about those people. >> john, my job is not to worry about those people, as karen said. i will never convince them. they should take personal responsibility and care for their lives. i mean, talk about faith in the american people. i've had more affection from the ku klux klan than that. >> unbelievable. is he arguing that a woman with a severely disabled child who takes money from the government for physical therapy -- >> for respite care, for assistance at school. >> doesn't care about her life and isn't taking responsibility? is he saying that a student isn't making any money and getting some student loansfedert student isn't taking any responsibility, is lulled in what paul ryan calls a hammock
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of dependency. >> it's half the country. >> large numbers of people, including 22% of those who don't pay income tax are elderly, that somehow these people are lazy, dependent -- >> undeserving. >> undeserving. it takes your breath away the level of disdain. >> professor peterson, if that stuff about the 47% was pretty shocking, take a listen to mr. romney's analysis of potential threats from iran. take a listen to this. >> if i were iran, if i were iran and a crazed fanatic, i'd say let's get a little fissile material to hezbollah and then if anything goes wrong and america starts acting up we'll let off a dirty bomb. we really don't have any option but to keep iran from having a
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nuclear weapon. >> professor peterson, this is a new piece of tape from that original fund-raiser. why on earth would a presidential candidate be articulating potential methods of attacking his own country? it sounds ridiculous, but it also sounds unpatriotic. >> it is. it's also belligerent and it's a parochial sense of how politics works, how even the war on terror has been prosecuted up to this point. i have always questioned mr. romney's competency as a politician, but i think one of the most striking things about this tape is that even as it continues to leak, the information continues to come out, none of us are really surprised by what he's saying here. we express the outrage of the people that he's attacking. we express the outrage at his sort of cavalier approach to palestine and to iran in this particular clip. at the end of the day i'm not surprised by what he's saying which means we all actually know what kind of political thinker mr. romney is, and i think that
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is why this kind of spells the end of the romney campaign. >> but here is the thing. romney essentially believes and is feeding into this dynamic that we've had, this narrative we have had from republicans for a very long time about the role of government. that's how he was trying to spin it, that this was about the role of government, a totally false narrative. time and again he seems like he does not understand this country, and that's because he doesn't because he's never lived like a majority of people in this country have lived. he's never had to rely on unemployment insurance, which i can tell you my mother did for a period of time, and she told t-shirts on the street to make enough money to keep food on the table. that is not somebody who thinks of themselves as a victim. >> here is the reason why this is not the end of the romney campaign. there's a lot of hypocrisy among americans. remember during the debate over obama care you would have seniors who would go to town meetings and they would say, get the government's hands off my medicare. so there are a lot of people who do get help from the government who don't recognize that they do or think that others who get
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help from the government are undeserving and they're deserving. and so they're resentful of other people who they think might also be getting help. so it's not clear that this is the end of the romney campaign. >> nobody is suggesting that. >> it doesn't help things. >> it's not the end of the election but it is the end of what we think of as romney's campaign in the following ways. he is essentially -- you're right, people will vote against their own self-interests, but at the end of the day this story signals for us what we already know about romney, and i think a lot of folk are having that feeling today and having that feeling this week. >> i think there's also an opportunity to -- some of the folks that he's talking about are recognizing, wait a second, he's talking about me. i have served in the military, i got a college loan, i'm a senior on medicare, i don't think of -- i'm not a victim. >> a sponger. >> that's right. there are people -- obviously, we've talked about this -- >> you hope so. >> who will say, wait a second, that's not me, who might actually say, you know what? that guy doesn't get me, i don't trust him. >> and directly to karen's
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point, john, we have heard a lot from mr. romney about the evils of divisive rhetoric. let's take a listen. here he comes. >> i will not divide america as i have seen the president do over these pastself months. i will stop this divisiveness and i will do everything in my power to unite the american people. this is a time for us to come together as a nation. we do not have to have the kind of divisiveness and bitterness and recriminations we have seen over the last four years. >> it's laughable. this is the same man who condemned occupy wall street because he said the people were dividing the nation between the 99 and the 1. here he is dividing the nation between the 47 and the 53. >> the thing about this that is in some ways good is it is clarifying not just romney but paul ryan and the republican party, who they stand for now, it's real class warfare between the, quote, makers and the takers. or as ayn rand said the moochers
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and the producers. they're trying to tap into what nixon called the mobilization of resentments which was at the center of his success. this is how they're going to try to win this election. it's going to get even uglier than it's been already. >> you really think so? >> i really do. >> it will expose a lot of fissures in the american society. >> karl rove is into anger points. his philosophy is let's scapegoat a group of people, immigrants or gay people so at least you can feel like there's somebody lower on the totem pole than you. you're better than them. those people are the ones taking your jobs and money. we also know rove knows how to steal an election better than anybody in the country. remember 2000. it's not going to be the voter i.d. stuff, all the robocalls and mailings, the things that tell people if you vote in the primary you don't have to vote. or giving people the wrong address of where to go vote or the wrong day or time to go vote. so it's not -- i completely
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agree, it's not over and i don't think we can discount the power these zbis still have. >> final question, does this type finally give us clear evidence of who is really leading the divisiveness as far as this presidential campaign is concerned? jay carney earlier today saying this president involved himself in saving the auto industry not because the people who had jobs were going to vote for him but because he serves all americans. >> that's right. hopefully it does that. remember, mitt romney represents the way that some people actually feel, the one percenters feel this way, people in the republican party feel this way sometimes, and what this proves to us and it's a sad day in american politics if this is the case, it proves to us in some ways that it's easier for people to vote against something than it is for them to vote for something. so it's easier for folks to vote against entitlements or folks they think are lazy. they have got to think about political discourse, policy in a way that galvanizes us around issues to be much more positive in the political process. this is bad for american
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politics. >> james peterson, john alter, and karen finney, thank you all. as we go to break a note on one of our favorite romney sound bites, mitt romney made this one on may the 17th, hours before his appear raps at a now infamous florida fund-raiser. i wonder if he can recall exactly what he said. >> i'm not familiar precisely with exactly what i said but i stand by what i said whatever it was. ♪ [ male announcer ] if you believe the mayan calendar, on december 21st polar shifts will reverse the earth's gravitational pull and hurtle us all into space. which would render retirement planning unnecessary. but say the sun rises on december 22nd,
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so who are these 47% that mitt romney dismisses as dependents who pay no federal tax? well, for starters they're actually 46%. second, more than half of those 46% do pay federal taxes,
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payroll taxes specifically, which help fund social security and medicare. and never mind the state, local, investment, and sales taxes that people pay. so the real question then is who are these 18% who pay no federal taxes? well, more than half are the elderly. the remainder are mostly households making less than $20,000 a year. so to sum up, 82% of americans pay taxes to the federal government either income, payroll, or both. something mr. romney might know if his campaign were not so eye verse to those pesky fact checkers. joining us is democratic congressman john larson of connecticut who sits on the tax writing ways and means committee. good afternoon, sir. mr. larson, you grew up as one of seven brothers and sisters in public housing. >> correct. >> how do you like mr. romney's assessment of half the population as feckless free loaders who can barely brush their teeth? >> well, you know, what i think
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mitt romney doesn't understand is that this is personal. he's talking about my mother here. an 87-year-old woman who is in a nursing home currently. he's talking about my dad who was a firefighter. both who paid into social security and medicare, both who paid income taxes. my dad never lived long enough, martin, to collect either his pension or his social security or medicare but my mom did, and everything he put in is paid forward to take care of her care. i walk down the hallways of the home that she's in now because she requires 24 hour care. she's had three congestive heart failures, multiple sclerosis for more than 40 years and now with the onset of dementia needs that attention all the time. she's no burden. she never has been. we love her with all of our hearts. she's been an inspiration and so have all the people that mitt romney demeans.
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he doesn't understand how personal this is with people because they're invisible to him. in his world, he's out of touch with them. that's what i think is so galling about this, this assault on demeaning the american people, the people who work hard and play by the rules and have sacrificed to pay it forward. this notion of entitlement, give me a break. they paid for this dearly, and i am proud to be a part of a system that helps support them. you know, martin, you talk a lot about -- in your commercials about individualism and community, the two great strengths of this great country. they have so dissed the community as president-elect of this, it's incredulous. i think that's why people are so outraged by his comments. >> thank you so much for that personal reference and may god bless your father and your mother, your mother who is obviously still alive. i want to read what romney says of these 47%. he says they, quote, believe
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they are victims who believe the government has a responsibility to care for them, who believe that they are entitled to health care, to food, to housing, to you name it. what does that tell you about the heart of mitt romney? >> it reveals his total character. it reveals who he really is in those moments where no one is watching. he speaks the truth to his donors. he tells them how he really feels about america. it's pathetic. it's sad to see that someone who would seek the office of president of the united states would so dismiss all of the people he is sworn to serve if he should be fortunate, which certainly i believe he won't, to succeed in this quest. it is really disheartening to hear him say that. >> congressman, you worked alongside dr. edward zeigler who, of course, developed the highly effective head start
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program. i had the great privilege of interviewing dr. zeigler. that has been so crucial in helping children in challenging family circumstances, but given mr. romney's contempt for half the population, i guess it's no surprise that his running mate, paul ryan, his running mate's budget would slash head start to pieces. >> it would slash head start. it slashes college education and tuition. it slashes medicaid as well, which also hurts the very seniors also that they claim they're going to protect. this cynical nature of this has had even the bishops joining with the nuns and saying that this is an immoral budget that he has put forward because of how it decimates the poorest amongst us. i mean, dr. zeigler would be amazed by all of this, and not shocked, but i think amazed by how they could be so thoughtless. when we understand that by investing in american people, by
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understanding what we need to do, especially amongst our children at their very young and formative stages, provides for their growth and their prosperity and makes us one as a nation. appeals to that community side instinctively of what has made us a great nation, not giving a hand out but giving a helping hand and instructing people in ways of education and nurturing and understanding so that they become the productive citizens we all want, martin. >> congressman john larson of connecticut, thank you, sir, so much for joining us. >> thank you, sir. >> stay with us. much more ahead. [ male announcer ] let's say you need to take care of legal matters. wouldn't it be nice if there was an easier, less-expensive option than using a traditional lawyer? well, legalzoom came up with a better way. we took the best of the old and combined it with modern technology. together you get quality services on your terms,
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numbers guy. no, he's apparently also a man with some exotic interests. joining us a michael isikoff, nbc news's national investigative correspondent. mike, why is it that in researching this character's break ground there are more stories about sex parties and jor jis than politics and fund-raising? >> well, i think there was a notable party he had at his bridge hampton, long island mansion last year that got reported in the gossip pages. apparently it had scantily clad russian women dancing on platforms and people frolicking in the nude. i wasn't there, i can't vouch for any of this, martin, but i can tell you that mr. leader is a major player in the private
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equity world and has been a big fund-raiser for mitt romney, not only holding the fund-raiser at his house in boca raton last may, but he also has contributed over $225,000 to restore our future, which is the mitt romney super pac. so he's been a big player. he had a -- he worked with mitt romney back when mitt romney was in his bain capital days. so they have a long-standing relationship, and it is a bit ironic, i suppose, that it was this video at -- this fund-raiser at martin leader's home that is causing mitt romney so much damage. >> indeed. nbc news's national investigative correspondent michael isikoff. thank you for your detailed explanation. the days "top lines" are coming up. copies of my acceptance speech. great! it's always good to have a backup plan, in case i get hit by a meteor. wow, your hair looks great. didn't realize they did photoshop here. hey, good call on those mugs. can't let 'em see what you're drinking. you know, i'm glad
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we're both running a nice, clean race. no need to get nasty. here's your "honk if you had an affair with taylor" yard sign. looks good. [ male announcer ] fedex office. now save 50% on banners.
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smart people on our side. >> just because people know things, doesn't mean we should listen to them. >> it was the early to mid, everyone was experiencing with democracy then. >> his foreign policy statement was a case of premature inauguration. >> what does mitt where to bed? >> i think the best answer is as little as possible. >> honey booboo or snooki. >> i'm kind of a snooki fan. i have a terrific campaign. my seen nor campaign people work extraordinarily well together. >> i have done my own taxes. i don't know about some of these other folks. >> good evening. i understand that there's a video that's been on the internet. i'd certainly appreciate if they released the whole tape. the president believes in what i have described as a government-centered society. of course, individuals are going to take responsibility for their life. the president has his group, i have my group. it's not elegantly stated, let me put it that way. i'm speaking off the cuff. >> you are president of all the people, not just the people who voted for you. >> what he was trying to say is that the number of people on
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food stamps, the number of people that depend on government. >> this is the guy who said i like to fire people. >> i don't think the candidate's off message at pull. >> it's almost as if he was brought into a strategy session. >> this whole thing that mitt romney can't relate to middle class people. >> but he never said i'm not going to not work for them. >> you have to move on to secretly recorded videos. well, frame mitt romney as thurston howell iii. >> he was saying what he believed about half of america. >> i think it's ridiculous that people are seizing on it and we're even giving all that much air time to it. >> they're devastating because they're not shocking. >> who dismisses 47%. >> you have to try to be campaign to be president for all americans. it's so contemptuous and so condescending. >> he's not acting like a candidate that wants this thing at times. >> let's get to our panel. in new york my colleague krystal ball is the host of "the tykecle." in washington, perry bacon and julian epstein, a democratic strategist. julian, if i might begin with you, there's a new twitter hash
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tag called #romney encore, suggestions for how romney can top his comments on libyaened a the 47%. how about please vote for the incumbent, i hate half of america? >> let's see, who weeks ago he was the empty suit because he didn't have a program. last week he was yosemite sam for his cockeyed comments on libya. this week, let's see, i might go with triumph the insult because if he's got at anything, it's insulting people. >> that's fair enough. >> krystal, mitt romney has gone on to that vigorous and demanding broadcast on fox news and he has doubled down on the actual things he said that were secretly recorded. indeed, you watched the interview. >> i found it remarkable actually. at first he troo i had to spin and say i was just talking about the politics of it but ultimately he basically reiterated the point that 47% of americans don't pay income tax, and so they're not going to be on his side, they're going to
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support president obama. so i found it remarkable that even in that moment he continues to reiterate the same point. the other piece that i found very interesting and also very inlightening is he was asked about some comments from donald trump and he responded, i always value his counsel, donald tru trump's counsel. >> perry, he does lead the president in one category, the number of hastily arranged news conferences where he says or does something stupid. take a look. >> good evening. i understand that there's a video that's been on the internet for a few weeks. >> if you had known that the ambassador had died would -- >> i'm not going to take hypotheticals about what would have been known and so forth. the fascination with taxes i paid i find to be very small-minded. i'm not pham precisely with exactly what i said but i stand by what i said. >> are the things you said in the video things you believe? are those core convictions?
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>> perry, what's wrong with this man's campaign? >> i think today in particular, i mean, there are moments when you're a candidate and it's good to stand by what you said, and there are moments where it's just the smart thing to say, look, i said that incorrectly and i shouldn't have said it that way and i apologize. gee can't do that because he's written a book called "no apology" and he never, ever apologizes for anything. >> i think that's right. he has written a book about that but i assume he wants to be president because he spent six years trying to do that, so i can't figure out why today in particular he clearly made a mistake, even most conservatives can't defend what he said and i can't figure out, he had a press conference last night, fox interview today, two formats where he could have said i misphrased that. and he really doubled down on the remarks. 47% is a lot of people to write off as a candidate. if you're trying to win, you should say never mind, i'd like some of you to vote for me even though i said something bad a
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few days ago. >> to that point that perry makes, they are not walking away from this. they are driving this. they're saying that this proves that they're consistent, that they're opposing the president because he wants a government centric country, and they don't, and they're very happy to fight it out on what he said. >> well, his campaign staff believes that if he admits he made a mistake that the story will get worse. that's why he's doubling down. but consider just how kind of dumb this is as a political campaign tactic. not only has he insulted 47% of the electorate, but he has hung a lantern again on this tax issue. the fact of the matter is that most americans, including the americans that don't pay an income tax, pay a higher tax rate than romney's 13%. the average rate is somewhere between 4% and 30%. so he's calling attention to that. secondly, the largest beneficiary of entitlement spending in this country is seniors. seniors get two-thirds of all entitlement spending. that's the one demographic group
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that he is actually leading in. thirdly, red states overwhelmingly are greater net beneficiaries of the federal largess. they get more federal benefits than they pay into. while this is a very funny mitt romney goes wild spring break video -- >> i don't think it is funny. >> it's funny in a way that we begin to ridicule this guy and this is his spring break video. i mean, this shows -- you begin to ask yourself, how many times can a campaign shoot itself in the foot? and this guy wants to be ceo of this country. he doesn't seem like he could organize his way out of a paper bag. >> he ridicules himself really. this is what the obama campaign and what democrats have been saying about him, that he does look with con tertempt on part the country. and romney himself comes out and basically says, yeah, that's true. i think what's so damaging here is that people already suspected that this was the case.
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they already thought that this is who mitt romney was and this was what he thought about a vast portion of the country. so when they hear these comments, they say, yeah, that fits, and that's not the guy that i want to be my president because he doesn't respect me or understand what i'm going through. >> perry, why does this man continue to talk about everyone else's taxes but never says anything about his own? he will not release any details of his own taxes and yet he's always talking about people who don't pay taxes, who don't pay enough taxes. >> you know, one of the great questions is whether this is mitt romney's true views or whether he was pandering to the people in this room. one of the things we don't know about him is when -- sort of who the real mitt romney is. it sounds like in this case what happened was he doesn't want to talk about his own taxes but one of the big conservative talking points you hear a lot is all these americans don't pay income taxes. this is not something that popped into mitt romney's head. this is a very popular conservative talking point. julian and krystal have
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explained why it's not accurate, but the fact romney brought it up is interesting. i'm not sure who he was trying to persuade since everybody in the room probably believes that to be true. >> thank you all so much. >> thank you, martin. next, the biggest problem with the boca raton tape for mitt romney, it may once and for all destroy the myth that mitt romney is a job creator. stay with us. >> of course, i'm concerned and worried about all americans and i want to make sure our safety net is appropriately able to care for our poor. i'm concerned about all citizens but now and then you misspeak, you have to acknowledge it, it was something i did not intend to say in the way it was said. does your phone give you all day battery life ? droid does. and does it launch apps by voice while learning your voice ? launch cab4me. droid does.
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the population of america. but mr. leder is much more than the host of a fund-raiser, he's also a fellow traveler on the road to private equity wealth. as reporting in the norge"the n time times", mr. leder's company bought the restaurant friendly's only to take it into bankruptcy. then they were accused of using the bankruptcy as a cover for shifting their pension obligations onto the government. sun capital has denied the charges and says the whole thing was resolved for, quote, a nominal sum. dana mill bank is a political columnist for "the washington post" and william cohen is an author and columnist for the bloomberg view. you worked at jpmorgan chase, merrill lynch. you know the kind of individuals at that fund-raiser. are these people committed to mitt romney because he's a job creator or wealth creator? >> we have talked about this many times over the last few years. people do not go into private
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equity to create jobs. mitt romney may be the only private equity executive to ever claim to have created jobs. they go into private -- >> he's repeatedly said he created 100,000. >> he hasn't said that in a wile. maybe he's learned a bit of a lesson. probably not. they go into private equity to make a fortune and he did that. i don't begrudge him -- >> of course not. >> -- that. it's an incredible alchemy that occurs in private equity, spinning riches out of sow's ears or whatever the expression is. it's an incredible thing they do but to claim you created jobs is an absolute myth and completely erroneous. >> dana, this was a $50,000 per person dinner and at this very event mitt romney chooses to dismiss half the population as free loaders obsessed with entitlements and he accuses the president of dividing the nation. >> well -- >> explain that.
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>> now, listen, first of all, i am personally offended that mitt romney went to be at the home of this guy who did in friendly's because i grew up on the friendly fribl and the jim dandy. >> one of our senior producers had his first job at friendly's. >> i had one of my first dates -- >> and bill did as well. >> we can stipulate to that. but this actually does get at the larger point of the venture capital. it's sort of like it's an amoral thing. it doesn't really matter what the consequences are. it doesn't matter if it's good or bad. the idea is to make more money. so, you know, this is a guy who is in the new york post supposedly having these nude parties in his swimming pool. i'm not sure how that plays for mitt romney on the religious right, but the whole idea is that is sort of what we're getting at with this industry, and that is it isn't really
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based on employment or the environment or anything else. it's about generating wealth for the people who invested in it. >> bill, i'm trying to imagine in a digital age a presidential candidate who would say such an outrageous thing. we know the man doesn't drink, so was he simply intoxicated by the presence of billionaires and millionaires? >> i mean, martin, it is inexplicable yet again. i can't believe that mitt romney continues to forget that there are bound to be people who are recording every one of his words and anxious to upload any video to youtube. yes, he probably was intoxicated surrounded by all these alpha human beings in this billionaire's club in florida. it's heady and i'm sure he lost himself. he's a guy who has had sycophants around him his whole life. he probably doesn't have people to tell him to say no and how to think through these very delicate situations where he might, in fact, say something that everyone of the rest of us might not find quite as charming
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as he does. >> dana, at the fund-raiser romney says it's the 5% or 10% of undecided independents he's trying to reach. my conclusion is he's reached them now, hasn't he? >> yes, mission accomplished. he got that right across to them. yes, that is what he's going for, and could you sort of see another way of saying what he said that people on either side have their minds made up and you're always fighting for those few people in the middle. however, that's not what he said. and he basically said that nearly half the country is a bunch of moochers, specifically the people who are voting for my opponent are a bunch of moochers. that's not actually true as you point the out earlier. a lot of them are seniors, a lot of the poor don't vote. he's talking about a lot of the centrist voters in the middle and is by inference calling them moochers as well. he has managed to reach out to that and did he manage to come out again on reflection and say, yep, he's standing by it.
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>> dana, just a final point, we know that a number of his surrogates have come out like john sununu and said it's the best thing romney has ever said, but, in fact, linda mcmahon, who is a republican senate candidate for connecticut says this, i know that the vast majority of those who rely on government are not in that situation because they want to be. do you think that there are going to be more people in the republican party who are going to say, this man's comments are reprehensible? >> there are already. scott brown who is in a tough race in massachusetts has already come out and said the same thing. there are a few people who will not apologize for anything but like on the libya thing we had last week, we're going to see a lot of people saying, wait a second, this doesn't speak for me. >> dana, william, let's all meet back at friendly's very soon. gentlemen, thank you. neck, the president gets the last laugh. stay with us. i take insulin,
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the president has just landed here in new york where he'll attend two campaign events and make an appearance on "the david letterman show." for once he's decided to leave nbc's white house correspondent kristin welker back in washington. kristin, i'm sorry. >> for once. >> the president white house spokesman said at the briefing easter earlier today that this president represents everyone whether they voted for him or not but did jay carney tell us whether the president had heart his opponent's comments particularly where mr. romney appears to dismiss half the population of the country as free loaders? >> it's interesting. carnie was asked a number of times if the president has actually seen or listened to the tape. he really deflected those questions but the only thing he would really tell us is that he's confident that the president is aware of the tape and aware of the contents of the tape. i have been talking to obama campaign officials, democratic strategists throughout the day who say that what's so powerful
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about this tape is that it really fits into the narrative that they, quite frankly, have already been building about mitt romney, namely, that he is an out of touch businessman. as you know, the obama campaign has already released a new ad today online essentially using that secret video of mitt romney's. i can tell you that priorities usa which is the democratic leaning super pac is currently working on an ad that will be released within the coming days. so if the president hasn't seen this videotape, i think it's inevitable that he will eventually see the videotape, but my big question, martin, is will the president incorporate this or reference this in his campaign speeches. as you pointed out the president has two campaign events tonight in new york. i will really be paying close attention to see if he makes a reference to the hidden tape. we asked carney if he would do so. we didn't get an answer on that. so we'll be listening quite closely to see if he does. >> i'd be very surprised, kristin, if david letterman doesn't raise the issue with him. >> yes, good point. >> despite mr. romney's efforts to the contrary, this is still a
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very close race. i guess that's marked by the fact that the president is, indeed, here in new york rallying supporters, appearing tonight on a late night talk show. >> right. if you talk to obama campaign officials, they will tell you they're still expecting this to be a very close race. of course, they say nothing really gets the ratings of late night talk shows and those sorts of formats so they love it when the president can do that, but you're absolutely right. they're expecting this race still to be close until the very end of course, because the economy is still quite stagnant, the unemployment rate is above 8%. of course, now you have the protests raging throughout the middle east. it's an incredible volatile situation on top of all of this you have the bedates coming up, both the obama and romney camps agree this is a potential strength and a potential opening for mitt romney. >> nbc's white house correspondent kristin welker. thank you so much. >> thanks martin. >> we'll be right back to "clear the air." [ male announcer ] this is rudy.
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it's time now to "clear the air." and at last we're finally getting a glimpse of the real mitt romney. forget about the choreography of his convention, the bogus attempts to dress him up like an average american. the gilded lord romney is now fully transparent before our very eyes and what have we learned about this son of the political arreistocracy? when he was vorded deriding 47% of the population, he was badly mistaken. he must have known more than half of that number are elderly americans. many of whom have served this country with enormous distinction both here at home and also overseas in military conflict. but lord romney says, i'll never convince them they should take
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personal responsibility and care for their lives. breathtaking contempt. but lord romney is also callus because one of the reasons for why the working poor have seen their federal tax burden go down is because they've been incentivized to work. that's the whole point of a progressive system of taxation. you remove the perverse incentive that might have encouraged some to rely on benefits by increasing the financial attractiveness of work. and to that point, 61% of those who paid no federal income tax in 2011 did make payroll tax contributions, which means they have jobs. they are not feckless free loaders who cannot get out of bed. they're at work. but lord romney says, i'll never convince them they should take personal responsibility and care for their lives. and this is the private equity expert who's now decided that it's time to succeed